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West Ham finish in style as they look for improvement next season

PUBLISHED: 12:30 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:59 13 May 2019

West Ham United's Manuel Lanzini scores his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.

West Ham United's Manuel Lanzini scores his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.

PA Wire/PA Images

Pellegrini happy with 10th place finish from his team

West Ham United's Felipe Anderson and Watford's Kiko Femenia during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.West Ham United's Felipe Anderson and Watford's Kiko Femenia during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.

In the end they managed 52 points, they finished in the top 10 and all in all it was an improvement on last season's mediocrity.

But in the last three games, when most of the squad have been available, West Ham have shown that they were capable of so much more.

Roll back to last August and in that 4-0 humbling by Liverpool at Anfield, 16 of the 18 who were selected that day were in the squad at Watford.

So either Liverpool were that good, or these players have improved substantially under Manuel Pellegrini since then.

West Ham United's Mark Noble scores his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.West Ham United's Mark Noble scores his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.

It was probably a good time to play against Watford, just as it was Tottenham a cpuple of weeks ago.

Both were distracted by the prospect of bigger matches and West Ham took full advantage.

But it was more than that. This Hammers team are playing at the top of their game at the moment.

The key players have all hit form at the same time and teams like Watford can't cope with the attacking prowess of Marko Arnautovic, Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini.

West Ham United's Mark Noble celebrates scoring their first goal his during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.West Ham United's Mark Noble celebrates scoring their first goal his during the Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford.

There is also the question of strength on the bench. If one of those is not cutting it, then Pellegrini can bring on the likes of Jack Wilshere, Robert Snodgrass or Javier Hernandez and they add something to the team.

The manager felt it was a perfect way to send the players and fans off on holiday.

"I'm very pleased because we have won the last three games," he said. "Tottenham away, which was important for our fans, we finished with a win at home and now we've done it away too, so I think it was the best way to finish."

It wasn't all plain sailing. The Hornets started the better, while the start of the second half saw them score after Pablo Zabaleta's horrendous mistake and then go close a couple more times.

It was only when Jose Holebas was red-carded for felling Antonio just outside the box, that the game swung back to West Ham.

And what a swing! Mark Noble and Manuel Lanzini had already given them a 2-0 lead, but after the red card, West Ham looked like scoring with almost every attack.

Antonio was everywhere, Arnautovic went clean through twice, before finally scoring after Anderson's effort had hit the post, while Noble rounded things off from the spot.

"I think to finish the first season in the top half of the table was realistic for where the team is at the moment," admitted Pellegrini.

"We have six very strong teams at the top, and Everton, who the last two or three years have reinforced their squad.

"I think for the first season, to finish in the first 10 positions, is not bad. We will now try to have a good holiday, then the aim will be to win the first game!"

So could West Ham be challenging for those top six places next season? It will be a tall order and not only will Pellegrini have to recruit well, he will also need to hold on to his best players - especially Arnautovic.

But there is a chance. Wilshere showed what a talent he is against Watford, while Carlos Sanchez also looks to be a useful player.

Grady Diangana and Pedro Obiang, who started against Southampton could not even make the bench for this one.

There is strength in this squad and with a couple of additions and some good luck with injuries, who knows how high they can go?

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